Amnesty International – 2013-06-05 23:45:55
Syria Must Reveal Fate of Child at Risk of Torture
(June 3, 2013) — Sixteen-year-old Ahmed Ismael al-‘Akkad was arrested by the Syrian authorities on November 20, 2012. Since then, he has been held incommunicado in conditions possibly amounting to enforced disappearance.
His family says they have not received any information from the authorities regarding Ahmed’s arrest and current detention. They say they are too afraid to ask for information about his whereabouts. They did, however, receive a written note from Ahmed, smuggled out by other detainees.
The note indicated that Ahmed was being held in a Military Intelligence-run detention center notorious for torture. Ahmed said his health was deteriorating due to lack of medication for his asthma and the prison’s cramped and humid conditions.
It is unknown why Ahmed was arrested. Syrian government forces have arrested thousands of people, including children, since widespread unrest broke out in March 2011. Torture and ill-treatment are widespread in prisons run by Syria’s feared security agencies. Over 1,000 people are reported to have died in custody since then.
The Syrian authorities must come clean on Ahmed’s fate. They must grant him immediate access to his family and lawyer, give him medical care, and protect him from torture and other ill-treatment. Demand that Syria’s government grant Ahmed — and other prisoners like him — the human rights we all deserve!
SIGN THE LETTER
Bashar Ja’afari, His Excellency
I am writing you on behalf of 16-year-old Ahmed Ismael al-‘Akkad. Ahmed, who suffers from asthma, has been held incommunicado in conditions possibly amounting to enforced disappearance since November 20, 2012. He is reported to have been ill-treated and denied medical treatment in a Military Intelligence-run detention center.
His family says they have not received any information from the authorities regarding Ahmed’s arrest and current detention and are too afraid to ask for information about his whereabouts.
We urge you to reveal Ahmed Ismael al-Akkad’s whereabouts and fate. He must be granted immediate access to his family and lawyer, and receive any necessary medical care, including the medication he needs to control his asthma.
We also ask that you ensure Ahmed is protected from the systematic torture or other ill-treatment known to occur in Syrian prisons. More than 1,000 detainees are reported to have died in custody since March 2011, most apparently from the effects of torture or other ill-treatment. This tidal wave of death must be stopped.
The reasons for Ahmed’s arrest are unclear. We ask the Syrian authorities to clarify Ahmed’s legal status immediately — if he is held solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and assembly, he should be released immediately and unconditionally.
The Syrian authorities must also ensure that 16-year-old Ahmed is treated in accordance with human rights standards outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and within the rules of juvenile justice.
The Convention stipulates that the detention of children should be a last resort and that children in detention should be held separately from adults in facilities that meet the particular needs of children in custody.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this important matter.